In the event that you want to ensure that your spouse gets access to your wealth after your death, this may be referred to as an ‘I love you’ will. In this situation your spouse will receive the assets outright and it will initially appear as if those assets will be handled according to the spouse’s current estate plan when he or she passes away.
However, that surviving spouse could alter their estate plan at any time. That means that any verbal agreements about what will happen with those assets could disappear immediately.
There are several other negative aspects of ‘I love you’ wills that should prompt you to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney about other strategies. These include:
- These wills will still have to go through the probate process.
- Basic planning could mean very little or no asset protection.
- Basic plans put more assets into survivor’s estate, possibly leading to increased taxes.
- Inadvertent disinheritance can occur.
- Conservatorship or guardianship involvement may be necessary.
A lifetime beneficiary trust is a better option than outright inheritance because it avoids all of the disadvantages associated with ‘I love you’ wills.
Your New Jersey estate planning lawyer can help you with this process.